The U.S. government is using hotel rooms across the country to lock up hundreds of immigrant children and families who came here looking for refuge.
We know of at least 25 so-called “family-friendly” hotels who are part of a secret prison system. Unaccompanied minors and families alike are being detained in makeshift prison cells, denied due process, and forced to forgo the safeguards built into our immigration system meant to protect the most vulnerable.
The Trump administration claims Title 42 of the U.S. Code, allows them to bar anyone from entering the U.S. without papers if there are health concerns. So the government is citing the threat of COVID and Title 42 to expel kids and adults. Experts aren’t even calling what’s happening deportations, they’re using the word “expel” because the government is skipping formal processes.
By skirting around formal processes, the government is also avoiding more costly shelters that offer medical and mental health services. Large emergency shelters that comply with standard detention standards can cost $775 per day. The Hampton Inn hotel near the Phoenix airport on average cost less than $100 per night. Some children who are migrating alone have been locked up in these hotels for weeks, by themselves.
Our own government hopes nobody will notice the injustices heaped upon those who have come to the United States seeking asylum, and instead have been secreted away, denied basic human rights, and all but forgotten. We’re raising the alarm. Let’s not let them get away with this.